The days in the North are long and this summer seems endless. Time is really passing more slowly recently. Hard to say why, but this is worth researching. This is why I decided to resume writing my diary again, and activity I paused about a year ago. One aspect clearly is, that here in Germany, so many things can be done in a day with ease, while in Malta the most simple things become a daily project due to the general shortage of infrastructure and reliability. But now there is always so much ahead after the early sunrise. Based in Frankfurt (Main), I went to Bonn and Stuttgart. I really liked Kirchner's unknown collection, exhibited in the Staatsgallerie Stuttgart, and also the other museums I visited.
Arrived in Frankfurt after about 2 weeks in Bonn. I always enjoy being there, first of all I have very good friends in town, and secondly following its former status as a National capital of Western Germany, it still has a very extravagant cultural budget and very good museums. I was fascinated by the exhibition Bestandsaufnahme Gurlitt - der NS Kunstraub und seine Folgen in the Bundeskunsthalle. It is, but not only, what came to light after in 2012 an old man's flat was raided by the police for suspected tax fraud: one of the largest private art collections in Germany, and some of the works subject to the Nazi's confiscations and plain robbing of art works. Now the art and relevant documents are open to public, so that the rightful owners of stolen art works may claim their rights and the art works to be returned.
Today I explored the German National Library in Frankfurt and found this an excellent place to work. Far better than the Library of Goethe University in Bockenheim, and still easy to reach by bike in less than 15 minutes. I also tried a few coffee places, one of which was the Hoppenworth & Ploch (which was okay, but not great) and Kaffee Rösterei Wissmüller on Leipziger Strasse which may become an alternative "hang out" to Café Laumer.
I often take the train along the Rhine from Frankfurt to Bonn and back. It is not the fastest, but the most beautiful connection. Most people take the fast InterCity Express which goes on a more linear track. They don't have the time I have. My trick is, that I get up at 5 a.m. That's why I have the time. I love that route because it is my home. And I have not been home for a long time.
Tonight, a man with a large empty suitcase passed by to collect the empty deposit bottles, which he can refund against cash. He was well mannered and polite. When the conductor came and asked for his ticket, the man just continued without response. So, the conductor performed his duty, correctly but he was not doing right. I asked the conductor to take a seat beside me, which he did. Then I requested him to agree that the man got on the train the station before and will get off the next one and that I will pay for his ticket. I also asked him, whether he could turn a blind eye to it if the bottle collector would not get off the next station, but continue to a place of his convenience. We don't want to drop a poor man somewhere on the Rhine river at night, right? It was very quiet, just between the two of us. The conductor calculated the fare, took out his private wallet and paid for the man's ticket himself. Then he took 50 Euro and put it discreetly into the hand of the stowaway passenger, said "Merry Christmas" and walked on. I continued watching through the window the forest and the river passing by in the dark. And I decided never to complain about the delays of the German Railway anymore. There are great people working in that company.
Last week the Westerwald showed itself from its best side, with blue sky and daytime temperatures around 24 Celsius. April weather in Germany is said to be unpredictable and highly volatile. But we have been really lucky. There was a bit of administration to do, and there after now we are working in Bonn on predictive modeling for the construction industry. It is a challenging task, specially as in current times, government interference into markets is intense. But it is hugely interesting to see, how markets would develop without this modification and estimate the effect of government incentives. The most recent and interesting case is the is the pre-election UK. Democracy is becoming a funny animal in Europe and you don’t have to go to Greece to see that. In the course of this project, I am also looking at real estate market reports of the major companies. Obviously, they have a lot of market transparency and enormous information on the construction pipeline. But transparency itself, is not insight. The explanatory value they provide, is often just anecdotal. The academic world, also does not produce much of practical value. Unfortunately, this does not come as a surprise to me any more. So our work here is to clean up the glass ball and have a clearer glimpse into the future than all the others. And we are quite good in that.